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MC to host 2012 Illinois Latin Tournament

Barry McNamara
Some of the most talented high schoolers in the state will be headed to Monmouth College on April 28 to compete in a tournament. However, the college’s athletic facilities will not need to be reserved, as the students will be on campus for the 2012 Illinois Latin Tournament.

“Monmouth College has hosted the Illinois Latin Tournament periodically for many years,” said Tom Sienkewicz, MC’s Capron Professor of Classics and chair of the department, who reported that the last such occasion was 2006. “We are delighted to welcome to campus these students who have succeeded in mastering the language of the ancient Romans.”

The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a brief ceremony in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium, preceded by welcoming remarks from Sienkewicz and from dean of the faculty David Timmerman. While on campus, the students will be able to visit the college’s Archaeology Lab and James C. Shields Collection of Art and Antiquities. They will also attend a performance of the Crimson Masque’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”

Organized by a committee of the Chicago Club, the Illinois Latin Contest was first held in the spring of 1938 at the University of Illinois. Until 1960 three tests were given – district, sectional and state. However, due to pressure of pupil and teacher time, school finances and available Saturdays, only two tests are now given – the district (or preliminary) and the state. Other changes have come with the years, but the original practice of holding state finals at a college or university has been continued.

Sponsored by the Illinois Classical Conference and conducted under the supervision of the Illinois High School Association, the contest offers talented and interested Latin students an opportunity to go beyond the requirements set up for the class as a whole and to gain public recognition for their proficiency.

Classics students nationwide also recently received public recognition when MC’s classics department announced the winners of the 28th Annual Bernice L. Fox Classics Writing Contest. The topic of this year’s contest, which was open to all U.S. high school students, was to write a proposal or a pilot episode for a TV series based on classical mythology but set in the U.S. in the present time. There were 111 entries from 36 schools in 15 states, and each entrant receives a certificate of participation from Monmouth College.

The winner of a $250 cash award was Luke Zabroske of Camp Hill, Pa.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Wes Gobar of Fredericksburg, Va.; Alex Seidler of Joliet, Ill.; Veronika Spieker of Chicago, Ill.; James A. Grover III of Saco, Mass.; Jessica Lynn Chapman of Midlothian, Va.; Peter Eisenhauer of Robesonia, Pa.; and Tejas Reddy of Nashville, Tenn.

The contest honors Bernice Fox, who taught English, Latin and Greek at Monmouth College from 1947 to 1981 and who also served for some time as chair of the classics department of Classics. Fox spent much of her life promoting the study of Latin in Illinois high schools.